Justice has been served in Holland where six young soccer players have been convicted of manslaughter for their part in kicking a linesman to death.
Richard Nieuwenhuizen, 41, died last November following a beating he had taken during after a U-17 match between Buitenboys and Nieuw Sloten. The match was played in Almere, a city just east of Amsterdam, and ended in a 2-2 draw after Nieuw Sloten came back from being down 2-0.
Following the match the players shook hands with the three volunteer officials, before Mr. Nieuwenhuizen was knocked to the ground by several members of the Nieuw-Sloten team. Nieuwenhuizen was punched and kicked in the head before parents intervened. Nieuwenhuizen got up but was knocked back to the ground a second time. All of this happened in front of Nieuwenhuizen’s 15 year old son Mykel, who was playing in the match for Buitenboys.
Following the beating Nieuwenhuizen was able to stand up and stated that he did not want to call the police. He returned home for a brief spell but collapsed later that afternoon as he was watching another youth team game. He was transported to the hospital where he died of repeated blows to the head and neck.
Charges were brought against six Nieuw-Sloten players and one father of a player. At the ensuing criminal trial the prosecutor informed the judge that the defendants should be considered jointly guilty of manslaughter, regardless of who physically assaulted Nieuwenhuizen. The prosecutor also argued that given the defendants’ actions, there was no question the group deliberately wanted to kill Nieuwenhuizen and they knew there was a chance he would die.
All six youths were found guilty of manslaughter and five were handed two year sentences in youth detention centers while the other was given a one year sentence. The father was also convicted and given six years in prison.
News of Nieuwenhuizen’s death and the resulting convictions accentuates the increasing need for soccer governing bodies, from FIFA to local leagues, to enact regulations that provide greater protection for match referrees. It was only six weeks ago that a referee named Ricardo Portillo was killed after being punched by a 17 year old player during a match in Salt Lake City.
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Despite sitting at the top of the table in the Premier League, things are not going well for Manchester City.
Star striker and leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero suffered a torn hamstring while playing for Argentina, and now he is joined by David Silva on the injured list.
Silva lasted nine minutes in Spain’s EURO qualifying match against Luxembourg, forced off after taking a bad challenge from behind. Silva went down in pain and tried to play on, but asked for a substitution just minutes later.
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Spanish news outlet AS is reporting that Silva has suffered “lateral internal ligament damage in his right ankle,” and could face 2-3 weeks on the sidelines.
With Aguero set to miss at least a month, Silva’s injury could leave Manchester City without two of their top players in the coming weeks.
Silva has arguably been the best player in the Premier League this season, the quarterback of the City attack, which has scored a league-leading 19 goals through eight matches.
City travels to Old Trafford for the Manchester derby on October 25, which falls into that 2-3 week range for Silva’s recovery. In a match that could decide who sits top of the table, Manuel Pellegrini would be very shorthanded without Silva and Aguero.
Alejandro Bedoya will not feature for the United States in the CONCACAF playoff against Mexico on Saturday, and has been replaced on the roster by Bobby Wood.
Bedoya traveled to Los Angeles from his club team Nantes in France, but Jurgen Klinsmann has announced he will be unable to play after falling ill.
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Without Bedoya, Union Berlin midfielder Bobby Wood has been added to the USMNT side. Wood scored the first two goals of his international career this summer in wins over the Netherlands and Germany, and has scored four goals in ten matches for Union Berlin this season. Wood has been training with the U.S. camp throughout the week for the upcoming friendly against Costa Rica.
Bedoya has played well for the USMNT, discounting his short performance against Brazil in September. In that match, Klinsmann played Bedoya out of position against a potent Brazil attack, and he was substituted before halftime. However, playing in his more natural role as a winger or attacking midfielder, many believed Bedoya could be in line for a start against Mexico.